Understanding How, Why, and When to Use a Sensory Path- The Loopy Line
Welcome back to The Sensory Path’s educational series on understanding why, how, and when to effectively use a Sensory Path. We’ve been breaking down the different movements in some of our most popular packages. The Sensory Path is so much more than just a fun, colorful space in your school or clinic. We’ve already discussed the Push Wall and the Step and Say Sensory Path Elements. If you missed those posts, you’ll definitely want to go back and check them out!
Today let’s learn about the Loopy Line!
The Sensory Path Loopy Lines are intended to focus on both the proprioceptive and vestibular systems. Students need targeted exercises that stimulate their proprioceptive and vestibular sensory systems for a variety of reasons.
You may have both sensory seeking and sensory avoidant students in your classroom on any given day. While some students may tend to lean more heavily towards sensory seeking or sensory avoidant, it’s actually possible to be a little bit of both at different times or in different ways.
Regardless of which category your students are representing, all students can benefit from movements that challenge and engage these two neurological systems. Sensory seekers may be exhibiting some behaviors that can be undesirable in the classroom—hitting, flailing, falling out of their seat, pushing, making loud noises, biting themselves or others, etc. While your sensory avoiders may be hyper-sensitive to touch, noises, or transitions. When all of these internal distractions are left unchecked, you can quickly lose your students attention and motivation. Offering movement breaks can help bring your students back into the classroom mentally and emotionally.
The Loopy Line is an excellent activity when combined with a complete Sensory Path Package or even as a stand-alone activity. Since this element provides both proprioceptive and vestibular work, you will see a lot of benefits from this element alone.
To achieve the most sensory regulation from this activity, it is important that it’s installed correctly and teachers are informed on proper use.
The Loopy Line should be installed far enough from the wall that the students have enough space to move their arms. If this Sensory Path Element is too close to the wall, students will be forced to exert most of their energy towards maintaining balance. You want to encourage students to move slowly thorough this activity so that they can really focus on moving with intention and purpose.
At the start of the line, students can squat low and walk like a duck. This type of movement will challenge their balance and core strength. After they’ve duck walked for about 1/3 of the line, have them stand up reaching their arms up high and walk on their tip toes. The change in position will activate their inner ear and shift the muscle contraction in their legs. After walking with their arms and toes high for another 1/3 of the line, have the students resume the duck walk position for the rest of the activity.
The duck walk option may be too challenging for some students and that’s okay! A great modification of this exercise would be to have your students walk heel-to-toe through the entire activity. Walking heel-to-toe will still activate many of the same muscle groups and challenge student’s balance and coordination.
Whether your students duck walk or walk heel-to-toe, it’s important to keep encouraging slow and intentional movements. Remind your students to take deep, full breaths as they work their way through the line. The Loopy Line should be a calming and soothing activity. If your students are getting frustrated or emotional during this activity, work to find modifications that help them feel empowered and strong.
Knowing when to give students a movement break is crucial. There is never a wrong time to offer a sensory break, but there might be some ideal times to offer visits to The Sensory Path for some students. If you’ve got students who really struggle with transitions to different activities, a reset at The Sensory Path might be the missing link. Sensory Seeking students who just can’t seem to sit still or keep their hands to themselves, might be using their behaviors to communicate that they’re really craving some sensory input. Sensory Avoidant students may be totally overwhelmed by everything going on in the classroom and have completely shut down internally. Consistently offering students the opportunity to move and self-regulate through visits to The Sensory Path will drastically improve the educational outcomes in your classroom. Students NEED to move and we can help provide a structured and intentional space to do that.
If you’re ready to try a creative solution to sensory needs in your school, visit our shop page now! We have a lot of options to address the sensory issues in your population. There are options for all budgets and spaces. If you need help determining what would work best in your building, you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 662-607-0448! We can make recommendations based on your unique situation.
If you have a limited budget, we can help, too! You can read more about what to look for in a quote here. The Sensory Path can offer customized packages for ANY budget. Give us a call to get started!